By Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye
St. Janani Luwum was born in 1924 in Mucwini Kitgum. In 1948, the late Archbishop accepted Christ as his Personal Savior in a dramatic conversion to the Revival Movement.
It was at this turning point that he left the teaching ministry and joined church ministry.
In 1974, following the unanimous election, he was installed as Archbishop of the Province covering Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire.
As Archbishop, he became a major uniting and healing force within a fractured church and a country in a terrible agony. He set an example of a simple, uncomplicated yet incorruptible integrity in all things.
On February 16, 1977, Archbishop Janani Luwum was murdered at the secret police headquarters-Nakasero in Kampala by then President of Uganda Idi Amin. This followed a period of great tension and ugly showdown with Amin and his regime.
Remarkably, it was the searing martyrdom of St. Janani Luwum that galvanised international and national opposition to the Amin Regime, marking a pivotal turning point leading to the subsequent fall of Idi Amin and liberation of Uganda.
Government and the Church of Uganda are planning to establish St. Janani Luwum memorial with the objective to organise and put in place various memorial projects and programmes to honor, remember and emulate the life, witness martyrdom and example of St. Janani Luwum, as a prominent Christian leader of the 20th century martyr.
In February 2015, the President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who was among the pilgrims declared February 16, every year a national, public holiday-( St. Janani Luwum day). The annual national and international commemoration and pilgrimage takes place at Wii Gweng in Mucwini (20 km) North of Kitgum town, the resting place, birth place and ancestral home of the Martyr. The annual prayers and celebrations at Mucwini are for all Christians and all persons of good will gathered together in a spirit of unity.
The theme for this year is; “Behold, I am making a new thing” (Isaiah 43:18-19).
This year marks the 41st Anniversary of the searing martyrdom of Archbishop Janani Luwum. This year’s worship will be led by Archbishop Stanley Ntagali as the Chief celebrant and preacher and the Guest of honor will be President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
To ensure effective planning and organisation of memorial activities and site development, a National Organising Committee (NOC) has been constituted under the chairmanship of the Directorate for Ethics and Integrity. This year (2018) NOC was chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Directorate of Ethics and Integrity, Alex B. Okello.
Fellow Ugandans and well wishers let us stand firm and emulate St. Janani Luwum. His passion for proclaiming the Gospel of Christ, his deep and abiding faith, his clear, unflinching prophetic voice for human rights and social justice and his quiet, steely courage and confidence in the face of threats and ultimately martyrdom.
You are all invited to join us at Mucwini-Kitgum tomorrow as we celebrate the life and example of St. Janani Luwum who never wavered.
Compiled by Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye, the Director for Religious Affairs of the Directorate for Ethics and Integrity in the Office of the President